Monday, April 13, 2015

tuning the filter

I knew -- academically -- that owning a large house is a bit like owning a farm.  I now know it up close and personal.

Even though village water is hooked up to my house, that water is not hooked into my water system.  My water comes exclusively from a well.  Just like on Eddy Albert's farm -- with no Eva Gabor to spice up the scenery.

Like most water systems around here, I have a filter near my pump.  The water passes through the filter -- and the extraneous flotsam that shows up in wells is trapped before it has an opportunity to liven up my soup or to bash me after being launched through my shower head.

All of this is new to me.  But the basics were easy enough to deduce on my own.

There is a large plastic "O" with a handle attached stored near the filter.  That is obviously the wrench used for releasing the filter container.  And the reason to release the container?  To clean out all of the dirt and debris trapped by the filter since its last change.  Similar to a car's air filter.  But with water.

I had no idea when the filter had last been cleaned.  I knew it was, at least, last October when I took possession of the house.  So, I was curious how dirty it would be.  I had not noticed any extraneous mud in the toilets.  But inquiring minds wanted to know.

About two weeks ago, I bought two new filters for this project.  There was an extra filter near the pump that had been used and cleaned.  But it had also been stored where it acquired a healthy collection of bat guano.  I knew it would need to be refurbished before I could use it.

My initial idea was to simply throw out the old filter as a matter of routine.  Until I saw the cost of the new filters -- $508 (Mx); about $34 (US).  Now, that is not a lot of money.  But it is enough that I will clean the old filters until they cannot be used.

Now, where were we with this tale?  Right.  I was loosening the filter container with the O wrench.  Try as I may, I could not budge it.

It was time to call in a mentor.  In this case, my friend Lou Moodie.  Lou knows almost everything there is to know about -- well, a lot of things.  Including, water systems.

He tried pushing on the wrench.  Nothing.  We tried it together.  Nothing.

Lou found a concrete block I had been using to keep the garage door open, and tapped around the container's upper perimeter.  As if it were a recalcitrant jar of South African pickled peppers.  We even talked of getting some hot water.

But, with both of us pushing, off came the container.  Somehow, I had forgotten that gravity still applied.  And a two-foot tube of water is heavier than you might expect.

It crashed to the ground, pouring its contents onto the tile floor.  If I had had any doubts whether it was time to change the filter, the alluvial silt fans left on the floor gave me my answer.

The filter itself was not very dirty.  Mainly a few stains that are probably going to be permanent.

This week I will start cleaning the two old filters.  I am certain there will be essay material there somewhere.

For now, though, I have a new filter in place.  Next March, I will open up the container for another replacement.

I may make it, after all, in this season's Green Acres replacement.

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